‘My mum and I used to be really close but now I’m always annoyed by everything she says. The annoyance results in fighting so I tend to lock myself away in my bedroom a lot to avoid her. I feel she is trying to control me and criticises me for the decisions I make that she doesn’t agree with. I hope this changes as I miss having a relationship with my mum’- LUCY
Battles with your parents during adolescence are quite normal given that teenagers are trying to establish individuality and independence. However the mother/daughter relationship seems to be affected more often than not due to bond they have formed since birth.
When teenagers start trying to break free of the attachment they have with their mother (even slightly), it may be seen as a stance of defiance trying to be independent of the person who they have been connected to all their lives. A mother also sees their daughter as an extension of themselves so any decision made that doesn’t fit with their thoughts and opinions immediately puts them both in opposing corners. The battle begins….
How can you contribute to a having a good relationship with your mum?
- Keep the lines of communication open
Being able to talk about your annoyances with your mother is essential in bringing the relationship back together. You may think she understands what you’re talking about but most of the time you end up firing back with a “you just don’t get it” response. If more explanation is needed, tell her. Mums may be many things…but they aren’t mind readers.
- Take a breath
Before wincing or yelling at something that has been said to you, take a breath before you respond. Our first response is to usually go on the attack if you feel attacked, however if you took a breath and thought about what was said before you respond, you might have a better understanding and respond differently.
- Remember that parents aren’t perfect
Parents try and do their best raising their children but there is no manual on how to raise teenagers. They will often make mistakes when dealing with teens and regularly say the wrong things, but most of the time it is coming from a place of trying to help.
- Try and have some good times with the bad
Quality one on one time with your mum is essential in maintaining a good relationship. If you find yourself arguing more regularly, try and fit in some one on one quality time to reset. A walk or exercise together, a cuppa and a chat, or some retail therapy is great to clear the air even if it is just for an hour or two.
- Pick your battles and negotiate
To keep peace and harmony in your relationship, try not to fight every rule that has been put in place. Negotiation is the key. If you feel curfews on digital media, phones or outings are unacceptable, try and discuss and negotiate so that both teen and parent are happy with the outcome. Life is a constant negotiation so the sooner you learn how negotiate life, the better it will be.
There is no ‘how to guide’ to parenting and every parent/child relationship is different. Mums try and do their best but it may come across as controlling and overbearing. Just remember that if mums didn’t care about you…there wouldn’t be any fights. The idea of mums not caring about your choices, behaviour or opinions is a whole different relationship.
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